I recently watched a television program about castles in the UK and it started with Dover, a majestic place that started out as a Roman lighthouse to guide and merchant ship to shore. The main fort was built by William the Conqueror as a defense against any invading army to protect the shores, then beautified and fortified by Henry II with a chapel dedicated to St Thomas Becket. Most historians theorize that he built it out of guilt for having his estranged best friend killed and butchered.
I’m not adding dates or too much detail because this is not the point of this blog.
What fascinates me most about this castle, which I would love to visit, is the extension built during the Napoleonic wars. The extension allowed for artillery to be placed and fired from if the invading troops got too close to shore or landed; however, the hidden gem that caught my attention was simple; however, so ingenious that it was out of this world. What looked like a well had been dug down through the cliffs leading into a series of tunnels that led to shore. Around this well are the entrances to three staircases for the infantry to run down and meet the enemy at a moment’s notice. If I have my figures right, an army of two thousand men, fully armed, were quick marched down to the town center in twelve minutes. Wow, how simple, effective, and ingenious.
Where am I going with this?
I can hear you say, ‘please Alex, I left history way back at school and I’m not reading a blog about parenting to learn about history. And yes, yes we know, you and your family love history, but that’s not me.’ Well, you are this far so you might as well read on to see what my point to this is.
When all of us started this venture into parenting we had a clear-cut idea of how we were going to do things. All the books and the television programs told us what to do so we could have the perfect child that never cried and slept through the night. Then baby arrives and all our laid out plans go out of the window along with the advice from the childless super nannies on TV.
Just as a footnote, has anyone ever noticed how all most of these women on television [those giving advice] do not have children of their own? Anyway, we have to come up with ideas and last minute plans to deal with the arising tantrum and the child who just won’t stay in bed. Sometimes we take the easy option just to get that minute’s headspace or extra ten minutes in bed; however, just like William Twists and his staircases, a simple idea comes to us and somehow, it works wonders for our children.
It might not work for anyone else, but who cares, everyone is individual, every child and family are different. It’s a case of finding that one thing that will make our lives a little bit easier, yet, still be able to raise a fully functional human being.
Here is the kicker. As it has been done to me as a child, I tell my children to think before they do anything. My children are not genii but they keep their minds active and by watching the mistakes their older siblings do, they learn and find more ingenious ways to get into mischief. My fourth used to go around drawing on herself and the walls. Now she draws on the walls and gives the pen to her younger sister. Let me make this clear, I’m assuming it’s my fourth, it could be my third doing it. I just don’t know anymore. The kids have learned that silence isn’t a good thing if they are up to no good. Mummy and daddy will come and check up on them.
So, how do you deal with the problem? We made up a game and whilst making noise you cause as much havoc as possible! This is keeping us on our toes. We have to find new ways to bring the peace so we can have a bit of sanity left in our mad life; however, they continue to come up with something smarter and cuter.
I don’t encourage the total destruction of my home, however, I do encourage them to be ingenious. This will take them far in life.